Phlebotomist Training Schools
How to Find the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the rewarding healthcare profession of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy training near Anchorage AK. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and analyze each one. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you receive a quality education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your selection. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Anchorage AK employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Anchorage Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage Alaska.